Posted by: Dale Byers | January 18, 2019

DRINK OF THE BROOK

Psalm 42:1
As the deer pants after the water brook, so my soul pants after Thee, O GOD.

The Psalms are experiential. That is, they express and explain the things we experience in our daily lives. Someone once said that no matter what situation we are going through, there is a Psalm that relates to it.
Psalm 42 did just that for me. Those eleven verses ministered to my needs in a very personal way. Some interpret this Psalm as written during a time of drought, directed to those who, because of neglect of reading the Bible, were experiencing spiritual depression. It’s true that neglecting the regular reading of God’s Word can cause a sort of spiritual depression in believers. Reading the Word is essential for those who are going through dark times.
Psalm 42 begins with the word “As,” letting us know right away the writer is going to draw a parallel. Here he compares what we experience in our lives with a deer drinking from a stream. And like that deer, we often find ourselves needing help and hope. In this Psalm, numerous enemies were pursuing the deer—not just to hurt him, but to kill him (vv. 9, 10).
Perhaps the deer was being hunted by a pack of dogs. The deer knew he could run faster than the dogs, but dogs are relentless. They would eventually tire out their quarry and bring down the kill. Maybe the little deer had been running long into the night when he stumbled upon a cool, bubbling stream, his throat parched and his mouth dry. He heard the dogs barking in the distance, and his fear was goading him to jump over the brook, to keep running. But his aching thirst overwhelmed his instinct for survival. Breathing heavily, he stooped to drink of the refreshing, invigorating water. The deer had made a wise choice because the only way he could keep running was to drink.
Soon after the death of our son, we had pre-scheduled evangelist Carl Holwerda for special meetings. Carl and I met before the evening service to pray. We arranged two folding chairs back to back so that when we knelt to pray, we were facing each other. After kneeling, Carl looked up and said, “Dale, are you having trouble reading the Word?” I admitted that I was. The trauma of our son’s death had left me in shock, and I just could not concentrate on what I was reading. Carl explained that he had experienced the same thing after the death of his son. He found himself angry with God, and confused as to God’s purposes in his life and in his son’s life. That time of resentment was short-lived, and Carl was able to conquer his doubt of God’s love and purposes. Even though we both had experienced dreadful losses, we discovered anew that the Bible is God’s provision for help and hope.
Clara, a widow in our church, lost her husband in a farm accident. They were a large but close-knit family, and the death was difficult. A short time after the accident, Clara had buried her husband. One day soon after she was returning from a funeral, she found her house had burned to the ground. The only thing standing was the chimney. Clara told Betty and me the only way she could have kept her sanity was by reading the Bible. She read the Bible through three times that year. That required a lot of time, but it kept her mind intact and it kept her faith in Christ strong.
Like the deer, you and I may feel like we hear the barking of dogs in the distance when we face tragedy or heartbreak. Such times threaten to destroy our faith and tempt us to neglect the Scriptures. Let me warn you that those dogs have many names: anger, bitterness, resentment, revenge, doubt, hatred, lust, worldliness—and the leader of the pack, pride. Any one of them can destroy you and eat you up if you don’t keep your soul refreshed and surrendered to God. My wounded friend, drink long and deep at the brook.

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Posted by: Dale Byers | January 17, 2019

DEEP CALLS TO DEEP

Psalm 42:7
…all thy waves and Thy billows are gone over me.

How long does grieving take? When a soul is wounded, how much time is needed to heal? What does spiritual healing look like? Those are difficult but important questions.
Charles Ryrie writes of our text, “Psalms 42 and 43 comprise a single, sadly beautiful poem in which the writer, exiled in the far north of Palestine (42:6) yearns to return to the Temple in Jerusalem. He first expresses this yearning for God (42:1-5), then reveals the depths of his distress (42:6-11), and prays that he might return 43:1-5.” (Ryrie Study Bible, New American Standard Translation).
The Psalmist compares his yearning for God to a deer desperate for the water brooks. God is his only help and hope. Oh, if he could just drink and fill his soul with God. The writer then attempts to express how deeply his soul hurts. He writes to express the depths of his distress, so that you and I will understand our own processes of grief.
When the Psalmist wrote, “all Thy waves and Thy billows are gone over me,” he was expressing what you and I feel in that initial shock of the death of our loved one. It is like a giant wave rolls over us and saps us to the bottom of the ocean. We are helpless, and all we can do is wait to surface. We eventually do surface, only to find another wave to follow. We notice in the text that the words waves and billows are plural. Those waves come often; but as time progresses, they do not take us down as deep, nor do they keep us under as long.
The shock of finding our son was a horrible nightmare. For several days we all had been complaining about a terrible odor surrounding our home. “An animal must have died in the woods near our house,” we reasoned. Our two youngest sons discovered the body of their brother in a little patch of woods very near our parsonage. They came running into the house, exclaiming to their mother, “Mom, there’s a dead man in the woods. It’s Kerry!” We later reasoned that he had been there ten days. My wife called me on the phone, and I came running from the church. Together, my wife, two sons, and I walked to that terrible place. The sight and stench will linger in my mind as long as I am in this fallen state.
That initial wave overwhelmed us, and we survived those many repeated waves of grief. It has been 22 years, and we have adjusted. But there are still times when the waves roll back in. It was totally God’s grace and mercy that sustained us through those first dark nights. It was God’s grace and mercy that have restored us to normal everyday living.

So how long does it take to heal a grieving heart?

ONE THING TO DO: Give yourself time to heal. Time does not heal everything, but everything takes time to heal.

ONE THING TO PRAY: My loving Heavenly Father, please help me to wait upon you and take each day one at a time. Father, I wait upon you for my strength today.

Posted by: Dale Byers | January 12, 2019

John 3:16- Tebow

Many of you will remember the fad that was being practiced at professional football and baseball games. Often someone behind home plate would hold up a sign that simply stated John 3:16. With this being the professional football playoffs, you should read Dr. David Jeremiah’s book, “THE GOD YOU MAY NOT KNOW.” Allow me to quote from chapter 11 on Knowing A Loving God. Below is a quote
“In RETROSPECT, WE SHOULD HAVE PICIKED UP ON A CLUE. Prior to their crucial playoff game against the Pittsburg Steelers on Jan 8,2012, the Denver Broncos had lost their last three games by an average of sixteen point. Three games…sixteen points….
Then came the famous matchup that has gone down in NFL lore as “the 3:16 Game.” The Broncos hosted the Pittsburg Steelers during the playoffs. Denver’s quarterback was Tim Tebow, who had printed John 3:16 on his black eye paint. The first time he did this was during the BCS Nation Championship Game in 2009 – it lit up the Internet, with Google reporting over 90 million searches for John 3:16. It was also the number-one trending item on Twitter.
During the NFL play-off game, a crucial moment came when Steelers quarter back Ben Roethlisberger threw the game’s only interception, on third down and sixteen, which led to a Denver field goal.
But there’s more. During the game, Tebow threw for 316 yards, and he averaged 31.6 yards per completion, which was the highest single-game postseason completion average in NFL history. Tebow’s yards per rush were 3:16. Pittsburgh’s time of possession was 31 minutes and 6 seconds. CBS’s ratings for the game also peaked at 31.6.
Without being irreverent, I have to confess it almost seems the Lord wanted to grab our nation’s attention and remind us of His love, especially when we consider what Tebow said in his post-game interview: “First and foremost, I just want to thank my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for the platform God has given me.”
(Pages 215-216)

Posted by: Dale Byers | January 11, 2019

II. Grasp Hold Of The Future!

Press toward the mark- picture a runner on tip toes or of someone leaning in to meet a resisting force.
A. Face the New Year with the OLD BOOK
Psalm 119:18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
cleansing- 9 restoration- 67
liberty- 45 Hope- 81
comfort- 50 Light- 130
song- 54 God’s blessings 135
B. Face the new needs in your life with the Old Promises
I believe in the God of 2nd chances
What I have seen of God in the past leads me to trust Him for that which I have not seen in the future.

I believe not only in 2nd chances but many chances,
I believe also in greater opportunities
John Mark may have failed at Pamphylia but he went back and God was able use him to write the Gospel according to Mark.

God can change things in your life:
Dark Clouds can become the rainbows in your life.
Winds of adversity to Holy Spirit blowing where He wishes
You may eat hot dogs instead of steak- but Christ is the Bread of Life that satisfies and meets your needs.
Drink nothing but water– Christ is the Water of Life
Clothing may be used but Christ is our robe of righteousness
God does not ask us to live on His explanations only on His Promises (Wiersbe)

C. Face The New Problems with the Old Gospel
The word GOSPEL means “Good News”
What new problems will God bring into your life this new Year? I do not know nor do you. But I do know what God has promised to them who love Him

D. Face The New Life with Old Remedies

Five things that every Christian should do in this new year:
Read your Bible every day
Pray every day
Confess Christ to others
Be faithful in Church
Live a life of obedience

God wants each of us to be Overcomers: He writes to each of the 7 churches:
Rev. 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Rev. 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Rev. 21:6-7 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7* He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

What is there in your life which you cannot let go? Is there something that has control of your life that you cannot be free?
The greater the enemy – The Greater the Victory
The Greater your reward.
We serve a GREAT GOD

Posted by: Dale Byers | January 9, 2019

THE TRAPEZE ARTIST

Phil 3:13-14
We close out the old year and we begin a new year. I am thankful that God makes provision for us to let go of the old and begin anew. These verses should be the Christians model for life every day but there are times when God makes special provisions for us to start over. I invite you to think with me this morning about the implications of these verses. Please notice the two aspects of these verses.
Trapeze Artist
We are exhorted to: let go and to take hold.
release and grasp
give and take
forget the past holds and remember future promises
not look at past and look to the future
I. Forgetting Those Things which are behind. How Do We look at the Past?
What ever our past may be we must think of it as an old friend.
How do we say good bye to an old friend?
A. Forget our mistakes and our sins- Forget them and let them go!
Heb. 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
Heb. 10:17-20 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 18* Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. 19* Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20* By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
B. Forget the mistakes and sins of others
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Mt 5:44* But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
C. Forget our sorrows and our disappointments
Rom. 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
D. Forget our Successes and victories.
Victories of yesterday will not be sufficient for today.
This is a new year, This is a new day. Today is what counts with God.
Today is the day of salvation. Today is what counts to God. Live right today and you will not need to carry the guilt with you tomorrow. The victory that brought the Children of Israel through the Red Sea counted for nothing at Ai. The victory had to be won at Ai just as it did at the Red Sea. Let past victories go- forget them and leave the crowning reward to God.
Win the battle today!

Posted by: Dale Byers | December 28, 2018

I Believe In Jesus Christ

Luke 2:10-11
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

Why do I believe in Jesus Christ? Because I believe in life, love, peace, beauty, hope, joy and truth. I have learned from my Savior to find the many good possibilities in others, even my enemies. I believe in Jesus Christ because I reject hatred, death, murder, the intentional hurt to others, and the processes of robbing and cheating others of their joys and rewards. Tears should be for joy and not for sorrow. I hold to the privileges of life. I find fulfillment in lifting others from their darkness. I believe in Jesus Christ because this is the life He demonstrated and the life He taught us to live. He showed us how to love our enemies with greater passion than the passion of their hatred. I believe in Jesus Christ because He is the only hope for our hurting, dying world. I believe in Jesus Christ because I enjoy music, flowers, sunshine, fresh air, the brilliance of a golden sunset, the peaceful azure blue found in a warm, peaceful summer sky and the beauty of fresh snow upon the green boughs of pine trees. I believe in Jesus Christ because He is God who made this vast creation of stars and galaxies for Himself and yet chose to become one of us so we could observe that He is the way, the truth and the life. I believe in Jesus Christ because I am a sinner in need of a Savior. We are never complete until we live our life in a way that pleases Him and exalts His glorious name. We love Him because He first loved us. Merry Christmas to you as you enjoy the life He has given to you. (This article was written for the Holland Sentinel)

Posted by: Dale Byers | December 25, 2018

CHRISTMAS PEACE IS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT- PEACE 6

Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Matt. 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

Luke 2:13-14 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Gal. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is Love, joy, peace, longsuffering gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self control.

Peace Among Believers
Matt. 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.

Romans 14:19 Let us therefore follow for the things that make for peace and for things wherewith one may edify another.

I Cor. 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

II Cor. 13:11 Finally brethren, farewell, be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

I Thess 5:13 Be at peace among yourselves.

Heb. 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

James 3:14-18 The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

II Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

Posted by: Dale Byers | December 24, 2018

MERRY CHRISTMAS !

On this Christmas Eve I pray that we will all declare “Oh, what a wonderful Savior!” At this time of year many are caught up with the decorations of the season with beautiful lights and colors. Some are enthralled at the gifts, the parties and all the festivities of the season. Many today around the world will celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ in humble dwellings where they will hide for their lives or suffer for their faith.
No matter what your lot in life; rich or poor, good health or ill, alone, or in company, may our lives exalt our glorious Savior. Oh, that today we would cry out “What a Wonderful Savior!” Why is He so wonderful and glorious?

1 Tim. 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. Did you get that…. “God was manifest in the flesh”

1 John 1:1-4
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

Luke 2:13-14 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

The Angels declared Joy to the world. That joy of which the Angels sang was not joy because of the lights and the trees and the ornaments and the parties and times but of our Glorious Lord Jesus Christ. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Posted by: Dale Byers | December 21, 2018

PEACE FOR GOD-5

Matthew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Peace with God results in peace from God, which produces peace for God.
The world has much to say about peace and is constantly trying to find it, but to no avail. Sometimes local churches squabble among themselves and sometime there are even fights within a local church. How can it be? We are not only to be peace takers but we are also to be peacemakers. God has chosen us to be examples for His glory. He has given us a work to do.
Our ministry is directed to a troubled world, filled with hatred, jealousy, evil imaginations, wars, murders, etc. He has commissioned us to represent Him with a message of salvation and forgiveness. As ambassadors of peace we are to be harmless as doves (Matt.10:16). We are to be examples of genuine peace . We are to love and pray for our enemies and to do good to those who hurt us. Christ is called the Prince of Peace and our work is to be peacemakers with and for Him. May God teach us to love those who do not know our God (Matt.5:44). The world must see our lives before they will listen to our message. The world is full of sermons and critics but very few examples (I Cor. 10:31-33).
We are to be Ambassadors of peace through our individual lives to our communities, churches, and even among the nations. We are to be those who restore ruined relationships; renew broken friendships and willing lay down our lives for the cause of Christ. Our mission is to carry the message of God’s love to a world dying in sin and in need our Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
Conflicts provide opportunities to glorify God (Rom. 8:28-29).
*We are to forgive those who wound us and disappoint us:
Col. 3:12-13 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Eph. 4:32 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
This ministry of peacemakers may cost us dearly, just as Christ gave Himself for us. 1John 3:16-18: Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and sees his brother have need, and shut up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
Jesus gave to us His last will and testament of what He wanted to leave to the Church. In order to authorize those requests He sealed them with His name: THE GOD OF PEACE (Rom. 15:33; Romans 16:20; Phil. 4:9; Heb. 13:20).

Posted by: Dale Byers | December 19, 2018

B. THE PEACE FROM GOD-4

Isaiah 26:3-4
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD forever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:

When we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as our own personal Savior, we not only experience that eternal peace with God, we are also given the provision of personal peace in the midst of trials, heartaches and turmoil. God does not promise Christians that they will never suffer or experience difficult problems and heartaches. God has promised to provide a perfect peace in the midst of the storms. When our lives take us through those difficult times we have the assurance that Jesus will go through them with us and comfort us. We can experience that peace from God.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

Phil. 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Mark 4:39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is It that you have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

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